You fed your baby what?!
Let’s get real for a second. If you have a baby or toddler, chances are you have taken a look at their poop.
Most likely, if you’ve fed corn to your baby, you have seen it in their diaper.
Yup, we said it. Isn’t parenting glamourous?
This can be scary. We question everything that we do from sleep habits to when it might be safe to start various foods.
Seeing our baby’s tiny systems not thoroughly process something we have fed them can bring about a world of worry.
Here’s the deal. We have been there and we know firsthand how scary parenting can be.
If you are like us, you might be wondering about when it is safe to give corn, or other foods, to your baby, especially if you have seen it come out in, still whole, in their diaper!
Additionally, you might be wondering about starting foods and how they impact your baby’s immature digestive system.
Opinions and suggestions from your loved ones can become overwhelming, specifically when you’re simply searching for the real facts.
Learning about proper nutrition and food safety could mean the difference between an enjoyable experience or a visit to the emergency room. But where should we begin?
Let’s start here.
Which foods are dangerous?
The following list of foods should be avoided altogether when introducing foods to your baby:
Honey is known to cause botulism in children under 1 year of age. Babies don’t have the proper digestive system to fight the bacteria that causes botulism.
Cow and soy milk
Breastmilk and formula are best until their little systems mature.
Fruit juice provides little nutrition and may cause babies to refuse the necessary breastmilk or formula.
Foods like raw vegetables, whole grapes, hot dogs, nuts, seeds, coin shaped foods and more should be avoided until your baby is able to properly chew and handle them.
Try these foods instead:
- Infant cereals
- Fruits and vegetables such as apples, bananas, sweet potatoes, avocados, green beans.
There are some foods that may seem scary for various reasons but they are just fine for your baby to try.
Some examples include:
- Beans and legumes
- Nut butters
What about corn? When Can Babies Have Corn?
At the beginning of this article, we talked about feeding corn to babies and the aftermath, for lack of better terms, in finding it in their diapers.
Is it safe? Is it healthy? What do the experts say about feeding corn to a baby?
The American Academy of Pediatrics says that "yes!", you can give your baby corn. However, there are some important factors to consider when doing so:
- Have you started your baby on other foods first? The recommendation is that you refrain from starting with corn and try other foods (see above) first.
- Is your baby at least 6 months of age? Digestive systems mature as babies grow and this is imperative for digesting corn.
- Does your baby have eczema? If so, consult your pediatrician before you allow your baby to try corn.
- Do you have a family history of food related allergies? If your answer is yes, it is best to wait to give your baby corn.
- Consider pureeing it for digestive ease.
- Is it necessary for your baby to eat corn? While it is a vegetable and comes with certain benefits, there are other, equally, or even more nutritious, vegetables that come without the negative considerations of corn.
- Review product ingredients. Corn sneaks into a lot of foods you may not realize and it should be your choice as to when they should have it.
Some tips for feeding your baby corn:
- Go organic
- Select firm, colorful corn with tight, green stalks
- Frozen corn is okay, but use caution with canned as it is often high in sugar and make sure you know how to thaw it in the correct way
- Watch for signs of an allergy or intolerance which can include hives, stomach upset, antihistamine reactions, and even anaphylaxis.
How to introduce foods to your baby
Now that we’ve discussed some ideas as to which foods we can introduce to our babies, the question as to how to introduce foods arises.
There are a few stages of baby food you need to consider.
However, there is a research to support baby led weaning as well as traditional methods of feeding them various staged purees first.
What is baby led weaning?
Baby led weaning is a technique, originally popular overseas, that migrated to the US based on popularity.
Parents who choose baby led weaning present their children with a variety of foods and allow them to experiment and taste without spoon feeding or serving traditional purees.
Benefits of baby led weaning:
- Starting from a very young age children learn to experiment and try a variety of foods.
- They aren’t influenced by texture, as they’re trying foods that aren’t pureed.
- Babies naturally learn how to chew and handle food.
- No additional food preparations because the baby is eating what your family is eating.
- Babies may learn portion control from an early age.
When are babies ready to try solid foods?
As always, consult with your pediatrician on this one. However, these are a few signs that your little bundle may be ready to join you at the dinner table.
- Baby sits up and holds head up unassisted
- Baby is between 4-6 months
- Baby has lost the tongue thrust reflex
- Baby is showing interest in foods that you’re eating
Introducing foods to your baby is a huge step in their growth, as well as your development as a parent. It should not be taken lightly because your child’s health and safety is at risk.
With that said, knowing what, how, and when to give your baby real food is a wonderful start.
In addition, be sure to speak with your pediatrician and do not be afraid to ask all of the questions that come to your mind.
After you’ve eased any anxieties that may come with this next phase in parenting, be sure to enjoy this time with your baby.
Mealtime is a wonderful bonding experience and can be the foundation for a lifetime of happy and healthy habits.